Using Sand As Mulch: The Benefits Explained


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Sand is one type of soil that has a very good texture and has huge airspaces. This character makes it good enough to allow water to pass through easily. 

Sand, when used as a mulch, increases the aesthetics of the garden by contrasting the greenery of the plant with a white background. It also prevents weed growth and protects the topsoil from water loss and pests like gnats and fungus. Additionally, it can be used as an amendment that helps increase soil drainage and aeration.

When using sand as a mulch, you must be very careful because it has a high drainage ability as it allows water to pass through very quickly which is not a desirable trait for the plant. 

Plants require soils that can retain water for a certain amount of time to give it time to efficiently absorb the water.

Which Sand Is Best For Mulching?

Using Sand as Mulch

First and foremost let us look at the different types of sand. There are very different types of sand with different characteristics ranging from color to components. 

So briefly we will look at some examples of the types that included: 

  1. Coral sand, 
  2. Glass sand, 
  3. Immature sand, 
  4. Gypsum sand, 
  5. Ooid sand

Sand can also be characterized according to its size that includes very coarse sand, coarse, medium, and fine-grained

Glass Sand

This type of sand mainly consists of silicon dioxide and it is the main element

Immature Sand

It is the sand that is composed of the same mineral that it is made up from its parent rocks

Gypsum Sand

The type of sand majorly consists of dehydrated calcium sulfate.

Ooid Sand

They are very rounded pellets that are spheroidal coated in nature grains. It comes from calcium carbonate minerals

The classification of the sand according to size goes just as its names suggest; for instance, fine soil is a type that has a very small size and the texture of it is fine.

The best sand for mulching in a garden is sharp sand. Why is sharp sand the best for this kind of activity? It is the best for this activity due to its versatility.

Versatility is the ability of the sand, being the center of discussion in this context, to adapt to many different functions or activities.

Sharp sand is a good gardening all-rounder.

Sharp Sand

Sharp sand has a very huge multitude of functions in the garden and is best for mulching. It can be used for things like laying paving and potato slabs, or it can also be mixed with the peat and compost when it is ready for planting.

If you need to replenish your old mulch, here’s a good option that I have tried and tested and it comes at a great price.
You can find it here!

Cedar Mulch

The Benefits Of Using Sand As A Mulch

There are so many advantages of using sand as mulch. We are going to cover a few of them that include: they make excellent bases, they have very wonderful accents, it is they are a great choice as compared to grass, they are cheap and they last longer

Prevents Gnats in Potted Plants

Using sand for gnats is a cost-effective way of effectively stopping these fruit flies in their tracks.

Mulching soil with sand prevents gnats by covering the top layer of the soil with the dry substrate.

Gnats are attracted to the moist top layer of soil found in potted plants. It is within the first few centimeters that they lay their eggs and reproduce.

Sand mulch forms a dry layered barrier over moist soil making it difficult for gnats to live and reproduce.

Excellent Bases

They are very attractive and do not need a lot of follow-up in the name of upkeep as compared to the other types. Also, they offer a very uniform look at the base hence very perfect for the purpose.

Accents

They add creative insights to the landscaping of your farm or garden. It improves the aesthetics of the garden and makes it look very beautiful. And also they are very easy to use as an experiment in the garden.

Alternative To Glass

Sand mixed with gravel is the best choice when you are looking for material choices. 

They provide a casual good look without having to use grass. In addition, this can save money when compared to grass that requires a lot of watering which sand and gravel do not.

They Are Cheap

Buying and maintaining sand is very less costly. Of course, this statement is relative, compared to all other materials that are used for mulching.

Making them very cost-effective. To add on, these materials do not rot. Rotting makes one lose the material hence it will be wastage if it is not used. 

Therefore even storage and cost of storage will be very pocket friendly.

Lasts Longer

The sand will last longer than other materials because it will not rot. Rotting will determine how long the material will last in the store. These materials are bought in bulk so the fact of storage is very important in this case.

We also have other benefits of using mulch that is very important. They are; moisture retention, cooling and prevention of weeds.

Moisture Retention

Sand helps to maintain moisture in the soil because it insulates the moisture below in the soil hence water will not be lost from the soil through evaporation.

Cooling

The sand has a cooling effect on the soil because it does not allow excess heat rays to reach the soil below it. It acts as the ozone layer to the soil. This protects it from excessive unwanted heat and hence brings up the cooling effect on the soil. 

Prevention Of Weeds

How does it prevent weeds from growing? It prevents weed from growing by preventing undergrowth below it. When weed tries to grow, it is deprived of essentials so as for any weed to grow. In this way, the weeds will not grow.

sand in gardening

Is It Good To Put Sand On Your Garden

In my opinion, it is wise to use sand in your garden. Why am I saying so? Here is why:

Sand mulch has been seen to have a very beautiful appearance as the white contrasts the greenery of the plants in it. 

In the garden, it is very nice to use sand because it will add aesthetic value to the place.

Other than being very attractive, it can be used to suppress weeds that may sprout from normal soil. 

So, therefore, we can easily see that the sand is a good idea if we put it in our garden.

How Is Sand Used In Gardening?

Sand is used for gardening because of its low water retention.

The basic purpose of mulch is to protect topsoil. Additionally, sand is usually used to increase drainage within the soil.

Why is it so important to improve soil drainage? It is important to improve the soil drainage because high drainage ensures that the soil is properly aerated. If you have excess or standing water it can choke your crops. 

It also reduces erosion which reduces soil and nutrient loss from runoff.

Another way is when loosening heavy soil. Take, for instance, soil like clay, sand can make the soil more porous due to the large air spaces that it has. 

To make a very significant improvement, the clay soil should be mixed with sand at a sufficient ratio which will help it become porous.

Therefore, sand, because of its good drainage properties, can be used as a helpful soil amendment to increase crop yields by providing proper drainage within the soil.

You can see our detailed article on Perlite and vermiculite and how they are also used as amendments to boost soil drainage and aeration abilities.

Will Sand Prevent Water from going Through To The Soil?

Recall back some of the characteristics of sand. The important one is that the sand has very low water retention capabilities or in other words, it is that it has a very high drainage capacity. 

Due to this one crucial fact, the sand has to be eliminated from the list of things that prevents water from going to the soil. 

What do you think makes the sand have a very low water retention capability?

This is due to the particles of the sand and the bonding between them. Sand particles are very well spaced and are not easily bonded together by water hence the moisture content within sand is usually very low.

Through these very large air spaces is where the water flows through as it goes down into the soil.

Will the Sand Mulch Help To Hold Moisture In The Soil Beneath?

One of the main aims of applying mulch is to help the soil to retain water and help it hold the water for a long time. 

How is this possible? It is possible because of the processes of insulation. Water is lost in the soil due to sun rays that make the water evaporate. 

By applying sand mulch it acts as an insulator by blocking those rays from the sun that will cause the water to evaporate. 

So in this scenario, sand mulch as a whole helps to hold the moisture of the soil beneath.

So this prevents the soil from drying up fast in the garden.

Plants that Act like Mulch

The things that plants can use as mulch can include vining vegetables like the pumpkins or the ones that widely spread themselves on the ground. 

A good example is the potato plants that can be used as a mulch for other vegetables in the garden that have leaves that do not spread on the ground.

Pumpkins, squash, melons, zucchini, and cucumbers will all shade off their leaves and parts which will smother the weeds and kill them. 

While they bind the soils in the garden or farm, this will keep the soil long enough for the plants to benefit from it.

The Takeaway

Sand has a grainy texture with numerous air spaces. This characteristic makes it good enough to allow water to pass through easily. 

Sand is a great material to use for mulching and is recommended due to its benefits. 

There are so many advantages of using sand as mulch which include: they make excellent bases, they have very wonderful accents, they are a great choice as compared to grass, they are cheap and they last longer.

Everyone around should try and embrace sand mulch because it is also very cheap and easy to obtain.

JayLea

JayLea has a passion for plants and has been gardening since 2015. He has valuable knowledge about gardening and houseplant care and can answer everyday practical questions that every plant owner has.

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